Dandelion Appreciation Society

17 May 2013

I like dandelions! There – I’ve said it.

Small bee on dandelion flower with seedhead beside it.

Small bee on dandelion flower with seedhead beside it.

I don’t care that they are “weeds” – they are a lovely splash of colour and if you take a careful look at them, they are the most incredibly intricate flower. And is there any more perfect sphere than a dandelion clock (seedhead)? If you want to see the process by which the flowers turn to seed, I’ve just found a good time lapse sequence on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQ_QqtXoyQw.

I’m not alone in liking them – early butterflies will use them for nectar, as will many other insects, such as the small bee in the photo above; that photo was taken yesterday, and wandering round the garden with the camera, the two flowers on which I kept finding insects were the dandelion and the deadnettles – forget all my carefully nurtured “plants”.

Peacock butterfly on dandelion flower

Peacock on dandelion

If you can bring yourself to let them seed, you will also be very popular with your local goldfinches. Apparently there are an average of 180 seedheads in a clock, so that’s quite a lot of food all in one easy container for a hungry bird. From the dandelion’s point of view, it is also 180 chances at producing offspring, and with – I’d guess – 6 seedheads on the average plant, that’s over 1,000 young dandelions per parent plant. Even I wouldn’t want all that lot to grow.

The seedheads are called “clocks” because if you blow on them, some of the seedheads will float away, and the number of blows it takes to dislodge all the seeds is supposed to tell you the time. I wouldn’t like to guarantee the accuracy of this – I’d stick to wearing a watch if I were you – but it’s a nice idea.

Any other takers for the dandelion appreciation society?

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2 Comments to “Dandelion Appreciation Society”

  1. I love dandelions too, they’ve put on a marvellous display in the fields and along the roadsides, when everything else was still asleep!

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